tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN April 27, 2015 5:00pm-8:01pm EDT
on frack fracking. more than 500 local communities including some in my home state of texas have raised drn concerns about the practice of acking and have considered our past bans to restrict fracking activities. these of our constituents dealing with real issues, real environmental and public health implications. we should not belittle or diminish their concerns or simply dismiss them as unsophisticated. instead i'm going to suggest that the answer to calming the fears of local communities is not to be found in attacking their u motives or information but through more transparency by by. the industry and more effective regulation by states and the federal government. people have concerns about the fracking industry because they can see it is largely unchecked. for example, in the state of colorado, with over 52,000 active fracking wells the state
has only 40 inspectors. west virginia has 56,000 active wells and as of 2011 just 20 inspectors. pollution of drinking water whether from fracking or flawed construction of the well, or from surface waste from the site moving into aquifers has occurred 248 times between 2008 and 2014 in pennsylvania. we actually do not know how many incidents in total there have been because the state did not start collecting statistics on incidents until 2014. if we had more transparency, more accountable and more oversight, local communities would be able to make well- well-informed choices. however, building an oversight hearing around public relations campaigns to dismiss those concerns of local communities
not only does a disservice to members of this committee, it also does nothing to increase the trust of the fracking industry in those communities. in closing, i would argue that it is not some hypocritical smear campaign by. the federal government, but rather repeated attacks against epa and campaigns of doubt waged by opec industry that have stoked mistrust among the american people. this hearing is likely to have the unintended consequence of further stoking mistrust among the american people. it was once said that sunlight. i can't agree more. it is time that our local communities are provided with transparent information from industry to better understand the environmental and public health risk proposed by
hydraulic fracking activities. the problem is not that local communities are given bad information from activists. this is that local community cans not get accurate information about the environmental and health impacts resulting from oil and natural gas development using high volume fracking techniques. now before i yield back, i want to attach to my statement two studies. the nrdc issue paper on fracking spills. i ask unanimous consent to attach those. thank you, i yield back. >> let many introduce our witnesses today. our first witness is chairman of the texas railroad commission. since she began her role at the commission in 2012 she has
pushed the initiate si in an industry driving success. prior to her tenure at the texas railroad commission, she had a career as an attorney specializing in oil and gas, water, tax issues, electric deregulation and environmental policy. she earned both her bachelor's degree and dock trats from the university of austin. our second witness is dr. seagull, the professor and department chair of the department of earth sciences at syracuse university. he's worked at syracuse university since 1982 and currently teaches courses in earth science ground water movement and the fate of contaminants in ground water. prior to joining syracuse university, he worked at the u.s. geological survey in the minnesota district. among many other accomplishments, he's served as a member of numerous panels on
the national academy of science and research council and technology board. he received his bachelor's degree from the university of rhode island. his masters degree in geology from pennsylvania state university and his doctorate in hydrogeology from the university of minnesota. our third witness mr. simon lomax, is the western director of energy and depth a program at the independent petroleum association of america. before working at energy and depth, he spent 15 years working in journalism as the editorial director of the energy now tv show and energy and environmental reporter at bloomberg news and a senior editor at media ink. he holds a bachelors in journalism from the yeensland university of technology in australia. our final witness is a senior director for strategic planning at the environmental defense fund.
prior to joining the environmental defense fund, he was a senior adviser to the obama presidential campaign on energy and environmental policy matters and co-director of the presidential transition team. among many other roles, he has also held a position of assistant secretary of the national oceanic administration and chief of staff of the u.s. department of energy. we appreciate of you being here today and we'll begin. >> good morning, chairman smith ranking member johnson, members of the committee, my name is christy kradak. i appreciate the opportunity to provide testimony and information at today's hearing. this is an important issue with a direct impact on texas today affect ing affecting thousands of jobs across the country and our nation's economy. since hydraulic fracking has become a widely used practice it has been surrounded by miss information, propagated by
groups many prohibiting the technique than understanding the complex science of safe and responsible minerals extraction. setting the hyperbole aside, there are no confirmed instances of ground water contamination caused by fracking in texas. with proper oversight, fracking is safe. the thriving energy sector in texas is due in large part to the diligence of the railroad commission, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of oil and gas production statewide through a rigorous process of permit ing permitting, monitoring and inspecting operations. for 90 years the commission has served as the state's primary regulator of the oil and gas industry and is recognized as a regulatory leader throughout the world. oil and gas regulatory experience allow us to protect the public and our natural resources well. the difference in texas is found
at the commission's mission state, to serve texas by our stewardship of natchural resources and the environment. our concern for personal and community safety and support of enhanced development and economic vietality for the benefit of all texans. sensible regulation with a high standard for environmental safety allow the industry to flourish. every aspect of oil and gas development is highly regulated. as industry adheres to regulation at the local, state and federal levels. while it is in everyone's best interest the energy industry is successful, that is only the case if it operates responsibly and in full compliance with our laws or the commission will not hesitate to revoke their ability to do business in texas. included in the railroad commission's regulatory responsibility is the completion technique known as hydraulic fracturing. for more than 60 years hydraulic fracking has been used
around the world retrieving more than 7 billion barrels of oil and 600 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. the technique involves the process of extracting from shale rock layers that were once unreachable through the use of conventional drilling. this precise scientific process combined with horizontal drilling allows for the injection of highly pressurized fluids into shale areas. this creates new channels for which oil and gas are extracted at higher rates. with increased production comes a large regulatory workload. although texas regulatory standards have been in place for 100 years the current energy growth has presented a real opportunity for states to benefit from the economic value of the responsible regulation of energy development. in an effort to bolster our regulations during this time of considering growth the commission has worked with stake holders to ensure that the rules
reflect industry's best practice. as ground water protection remains a key objection, a keystone to the commission's regulatory success is section 3.13 or statewide rule 13, it lays the ground work for the safety of texas water. it evaluates well integrity, assesses requirements codifying best industry prakctices. amended in 2013 the most stringent casing rule went into effect on january 1st of 2014. in addition to statewide rule 13 before the commission issues a drilling permit the agency's ground water advisory unit will send a the letter indicating the base of quality water and the level at which the operator must present a casing. design is highly regulated and
technically robust. ground water is protected by several layers of steel casing and cement as well as thousands of feet of rock. as a result it's extremely rare in texas. while economic gains are meaningless without the safety of our communities and resources, hydraulic fracking hurts as a whole. outside interests are taking the concerns of citizens and influence ing influencing them in an attempt to end fossil fuel production. many of the concerns of environmental groups raised are factually incorrect or unsubstantiated. without clearly defined regulatory roles for the ability to anchor the texas economy is in jeopardy. in texas bans in industry are a present day concern. the railroad commission, though is required by delegated authority to continue issuing oil and gas permits. over the years, though, oil and gas energy companies have
extracted oil and gas deposits from deep underground. they have approached city boundaries and those instances success is found when the industry, the commission and local opportunities work together to implement sensible guidelines. this collaboration will disappear in communities where hydraulic fracturing is banned. businesses will be far less willing to risk their capital and as a result the cities will lose jobs, tax revenue and business development. the industry is the greatest contributor in texas and a prime driver in the vitality of the u.s. economy. in a world where misinformation and sensationalism too often drive the public discourse let's embrace the truth, adopt reasonable approaches to the challenges we face and share the prosperity that follows. thank you for having me this morning. i'll be glad to answer in any questions. >> thank you. dr. seagull?
>> >> mr. chairman, members of the committee, thank you very much for inviting me here. i present testimony on whether hydraulic fracturing of rocks can, other than the rare local situation, degrade the quality of ground water found in shallow aquifers. i offer this testimony entirely on my own behalf. . the controversy ranges from concerns over climate disruption to worries about potential lifestyle changes and economic inequities. but one issue commonly raised is whether natural gas escaping from gas wells can contaminate drinking water aquifers. a concern highlighted by two papers written in 2011 and 2012. these papers, the researchers
reported the results of their sampling of 141 domestic water wells in pennsylvania and new york for methane and other substances. they showed a graph indicating that higher concentrations of desolved natural gas occurs in water wells and they said their results suggest important environmental risks. when i read these papers, then, i felt that 141 samples were too few to make such a sweeping conclusion, and i noticed that a cluster of a dozen water wells. sampled in washington where two gas wells had notably failed and had produced some natural gas contamination, if not anything else. common sense tells me that more natural gas o occurs in drinking water in known well fails much there has to be more smoke near burning buildings. the duke sampling seemed
statistically bias to e me and didn't think they could say much about the entire population of water wells, let alone anything about shale gas exploration worldwide for such a small data set in that style of sampling. shortly after these papers were published, i was asked if i would be interested in assisting to do a basic science study on an enormous water quality data set they had collected in pennsylvania. this data set had over 34,000 individual samples of ground water and it's the largest data set i have seen of my kind including when i worked on large regional aquifers for the u.s. geological survey. people in science talk about what's a representative sample when you want to figure out contamination. the number of samples in the data remarkably captures the true population in parts of pennsylvania. so i agreed to help them. we published our first paper on
march 12th of this year in "environmental science and technology". before i talk about our results i wanted to address some issues that the press has brought up. immediately after we published our paper, certain e media challenged whether my co-authors and i properly dayivulged. neither our reviewers, editor handling the paper nor the chief editor found fault with our disclosure and accepted our paper on march 12th of this year. i have edited many journals myself and i understand disclosure. but a response to media pressures, the journal asked us to expand our disclosure. we did so promptly on april 16th our revised man script was reaccepted as complete by the journal. case closed. now the media also challenged us
us. the consultants use a wildly recommended method used by epa and other state agencies and myself for decades. so there is really no issue on that. what about our results? we could not repeat duke's results. we could not repeat duke's results. instead of using 141 samples, we used 11,309 samples in an area within which there are 661 gas wells. e we found high and low concentrations of natural gas occur close and far from oil and gas wells with no discernible pattern. me tan does not increase the closer a home is to a gas well. we could see this in a graph. we used four methods just to con if you remember it. why couldn't we reproduce duke's results? they just had an insufficient
number of samples. please understand that i know that gas wells can still fail. but the pennsylvania experience shows these situations happen rarely, much less than 1% of the time. in our data support these types of low incident rates, but most of all i'd argue our study points to not juch jumping to conclusion conclusions about contamination of water without samples or at least having a sampling program designed to truly characterize u the problem. thank you very much. >> thank you. and mr. lomax? >> chairman smith, ranking member johnson members of the committee, good morning, and thank you for inviting me to testify. my name is simon lomax and i'm representing energy in depth an outreach program of the independent petroleum association of america. the ipaa represents thousands of oil and natural gas producers
and companyies who develop 95% of the nation's oil and gas wells. today energy in depth is releasing a paper called a look inside new york's fracking echo chamber. it deals with the decision of the governor to ban shale development in the empire state through a ban on so-called high volume hydraulic fracturing, or fracking for short. according to "the wall street journal," new york is the first state with significant gas resources to ban fracking. governor cuomo's decision was at odds with earlier findings from state and federal regulators that hydraulic fracturing has been used safely in the united states for decades. in fact, governor cuomo's decision overturned two earlier findings from state environmental regulators in new york itself. in 2009 and 2011. . the shale could move forward
safely under stringent regulations. the reaction to the new york ban has been telling. while some environmental groups are celebrate. ing, others in the environmental movement say this simply goes too far. for example, former mayor michael bloomberg, a major ally of environmental groups called the decision a misguided policy that, quote, doesn't make any sense at all. president obama's interior secretary who served on the board of a national environmental group before joining the president's cabinet e reacted by saying fracking bans are quote, the wrong way to go. she added that supporters of such bans don't understand the science. similarly u, california governor jerry brown, a celebrated environmentalist refused to ban hydraulic fracking. and in colorado where i live, a
special task force convened by democratic governor recently rejected a new york-style fracking ban. against that backdrop, the question seems to answer is how did governor cuomo justifies a decision that l falls so far outside the mainstream? the administration produced 184-page listure review of research papers. but as detailed in our white paper, we discovered significant and indisclosed ties between the research and the political campaign to ban fracking in new york. for example, one paper was written by fracking opponents who used bucketing lined with plastic bags to take air samples near oil and gas wells. you might think this kind of paper would get shot down in the peer review process but the peer reviewers were also fracking opponents.
one was the co-founder of new yorkers against fracking the leading anti-fracking campaign group. she insisted her peer review was, quote, absolutely objective. then a few days after she gave a speech at a post ban celebration with activists in albany. where she said, quote, it is so sweet now to come together in one room to tell the story of our victory. but there's more. we found a network of environmentally active foundations. some of the media outlets that covered the paper and the campaign organizations that pressured the cuomo administration into banning fracking. these financial ties totalled $37 million at the research found and more than $16 million at the campaign phase. this wasn't an isolated case.
we found at least five more research papers cited by the administration where anti-fracking foundations provided funding to the media outlets that promoted the research and funding to the campaigns that seized won the research to drum up political opposition to shale development in new york. the anti-fracking work was led by. the park foundation, whose president has openly admitted to funding research, media and political campaign inging in many an effort to oppose fracking from every angle. these foundations built an ecochamber to drown out the facts in the debate over hydraulic fracking in new york. thank you again for the opportunity to testify, and i look forward to your questions. >> thank you mr. lomax. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you to the members of the committee for this opportunity to appear before you today to
discuss the issues associated with unconventional oil and natural gas production. the essential question before the committee is whether it is appropriate r for state and local governments to exercise their long standing traditional authorities in order to ensure that their ztszs and communities are reasonably protected from economic and environmental harm. we believe the answer to that question is yes. they have not been engaged in the debates over state and local bans and other restrictions. we believe that many of the issues around which those debates revolve are legitimate and reflect concerns. unconventional oil and natural gas development is a heavy industrial activity. so it's understandable that states and municipalities are seeking to exercise their traditional role in protecting their communities and i think
that response is entirely consistent with state and community application of things like zoning right to know laws industrial safety standards, et cetera. achieving a true balance of interest is critical. that means ensuring that gas is developed responsibly through strong public health safety and environmental protections. striking the right balance also means continuing to invest in the deployment of energy efficiency and renewable energy even as our nation moves to expand our domestic oil and gas resources. one is well integrity. it's true that there has yet to be conclusive evidence that hydraulic fracturing has caused drinking water contamination. however, it's widely understood that poor well construction and maintenance can construct pathways for ground water resources by introduced and
naturally occurring chemicals. water management, between 1 in 5 million gallons of fracking fluids are typically used in a fracking operation. and around 800 billion gallons of waste water are generated annually by on shore oil and gas operations in the united states. where that water comes from and how it is managed during storage, transportation treatment and dispoezsal are issues of legitimate state and local concern. air quality because of intense. ive shale gas development, the small town of pine dale, wyoming, has experienced smog concentrations comparable to those of los angeles. polluted air from oil and. gas operations is a growing concern across the country. in addition, methane emissions from natural gas operations are a potent source of pollution. earthquakes, reports of earthquakes occurring as a
consequence of high dralic frack rg now widespread. including in oklahoma arkansas, texas, ohio and kansas. whether those earthquakes are the result of high pressure frack jobs or much more commonly high volume waste water disposal wells, activity can be alarming to members of the public. in fact, just this this week the oklahoma geological survey released a statement concluding that it's very likely that most of the recent earthquakes in the central part of the state, and there have been hundreds of those earthquakes, were triggered by produced water into disposal wells. infrastructure, the impact on roads, water systems schools, social services, land and neighborhoods have been intensive is a leading concern in communities across america that find themselves often for the first time in the center of new energy development. states like texas and oklahoma,
hundreds of cities have adopted local rules that have enabled the development of oil and gasp. unfortunately such measures are under attack in many jurisdictions including most recently in texas where the legislature is considering a bill that would sweep away nearly all local authority. we think that would be an unfortunate overreaction. dismantling authority increase risks by creating regulatory gaps. it also stops communities from imposing even the most reasonable rules governing issues such as well setbacks from homes schools, churches and parks. the result can be even r more determined citizen opposition to oil and gas operations. in many states new regulatory measures have not kept pace with the intense rate of new oil and gas development which is made possible by hydraulic fracturing and other new technologies. local communities have become
increasingly restive within their borders. and as i note in my written testimony, many communities and states have very little, and in some cases, no experience with the oil and gas operations. while drilling bans may not be the solution in the long-term, they surely do reflect a need for governments at the federal state and local level to take more aggressive action to protect the environment and the economy. thank you for the community to share our thoughts about the basis for these public concerns. >> thank you, and i'll recognize myself for questions. my first one to the chairman. you mentioned in your statement that much of the criticism directed towards fracking is unfounded and inaccurate. and i pointed out in my opening statement that the administration is now 0 for 3 in their very public accusations that somehow fracking contaminates water. what is the harm caused by this
kind of misinformation and what can we do about it? >> first and foremost there's a lot of harm caused by misinformation. part of the job as a regulator is to make sure people understand we're out there inspecting and doing our job and that we have rules, very vibrant rules in place. but if you have a fracking ban like we have had proposed in texas and we want to make sure we are respectful of the voters, but misinformation in denton is part of what has cause edd the fracking ban vote there. it's a taking of private property rights. that's a real challenge. all of us respect private property rights and citizens to be able to develop their own mineral interests, but it's also an economic problem for texas. where texas is last year, and these were numbers at the end of
last year, the oil and gas industry put into the texas economy $15.7 billion into the texas economy. that's both property tax, all kinds of taxes, and also payments to the royalty and mineral interest owners. the industry created direct and indirect 2.2 million jobs in the state of texas. if we decide to ban fracking and/or limit what we're going to do, you'll see the jobs go away and not come back. >> thank you for that response. you mentioned the two studies, 2011 and 2012, that were cited to justify their banning of fracking. your own study refuted their findings. you mentioned several times the bias involved in those studies and in the coverage of those studies. what accounts for the bias? what drives bias? what's the motive and what can be done about that?
>> that's an excellent question mr. chairman. i can't read into the minds of the researchers at duke of why they designed the study the way they did. as i said in my testimony, it struck me when i first saw my paper that the sampling appeared to be done in a way to highlight places where a gas well problem. some have occurred. and so it struck me if their goal was to come up with an assessment of the general systemically, is there a problem with gas wells and gas in domestic water they should have sampled differently. it's why in new york it got such
impact, i think it had to do with the media coverage and actually jackson's promotion of his paper. and so people picked up on that. and how to prevent that i really don't know. it's a big issue of how science is perceived in the public and how to present the best science there is in a way that the public can understand it. >> mr. lomax, you have discovered to no surprise this network of foundations and activists who seem to engage in what e we might call advocacy science, which might i don't think is science at all. why it is not scientific and what we can do about it.
i u mentioned in my testimony that i live in colorado. i live in denver which is a major -- it's good to see you, congressman. i have the great privilege of working alongside on a daily basis the men and women of the oil and gas industry in colorado who make the oil and gas industry run. geologists engineers, other technical experts because oil and gas business is fundamentally a scientific enterprise. without the science of engineering, you don't know how to build a well to bring that oil and gas to the surface so we can turn it into the energy and consumer goods that support our way of life. if there's one thing that i could convey from my discussions with them is they just want a
debate that's based on facts. they just want a debate that's based on facts. because as practitioners of science themselves they know that the facts conclude that the oil and gas industry while not being perfect is most certainly safe. so i think that in terms of the undies closed conflicts and bias that you see sometimes in the research and in some media platforms that claim to be news outlets, that should be more clearly disclosed. i'm here at the committee today very clearly an advocate of the oil and gas industry. it's something i'm very proud of. and i chose to go to work in oil and gas after a long and happy career as a journalist. people can judge for themselves if i'm somebody i'm listening to
or not. one of the things that i think you may have noticed about my testimony is that i was pointing people to sources from outside the industry, particularly environmental regulators so that you don't have to take my word for it. >> thank you. the ranking member is recognized. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. let me thank all the witnesses for being here and simply say that i am really seeking information, and i'm reading an article here now that was published in "the wall street journal" this week as a matter of fact yesterday. and it talked about the oklahoma geological survey released a
statement on tuesday saying it's now considered very likely that most of the hundreds of earthquakes in the state center in recent years were triggered by the injection of produced water and disposal wells. so the methodist university scientists being a small university in dallas, texas indicated that 2013 northwest of fort worth was also likely caused by the waste water injection. now, i don't see anything wrong with the findings. what concerns me is the denial of findings. it would seem to me that if these findings continue even with the university of texas research are we addressing the
findings. that is my major concern. just last weekend, there was a major incident just northwest, i think, of fort worth in arlington where a family's house collapsed. and the water, everyone was told not to drink the water. i never found anything wrong with research. but my feeling is that once we find findings rather than denying it's happening can we start to address the issue and what do we get from denying citizens from being so fearful that they don't want to see that near their homes. i'd like to see mr. lomax and mr. segall, would you address that for me? i'm trying to get to why we are
trying to deny this is going op. i just want the information so we cannot just focus on it's not happening, to focusing on what can we do about it. >> well, i mean, i'm not denying. i never would deny that the injection of water in injection wells at extremely high rates wouldn't potentially cause earthquakes. i have seen the studies that they have done and there are a number, not many but a few, high capacity injection wells in which produced waters are being injected. ohio is another place and so forth. the remedy to that is to inject probably at much smaller rates. more wells injecting at lower volumes. so i certainly wouldn't deny
those results. they come from very credible sources. in terms of the public's fears i'm not sure how to do that. but in the context of what you just said, i think it's fairly well known now that if you inject too much fluid at a given location in certain geologic settings you could induce some earthquakes. from my readings of the journals and literature being produced on the earthquakes in oklahoma and elsewhere, most of them are the kind you can't feel, but there are some you can feel. >> i have felt them. i felt them the week before in dallas. >> i won't never deny that but the solution to that, although this is not my area of great expertise expertise, but my understanding is that you have more injection wells spread out over a larger area u and then you wouldn't have that kind of problem.
at least that's the sense i get from my colleagues that study this kind of thing. >> mr. lomax, do you have a comment? >> yes, ma'am, thank you pr your question. my issue is never with the actual research but the way that those findings get politicized and misrepresented and used by groups to say that hydraulic fracturing, particularly, even though we're talking about a completely separate process, when they use that as somehow to build a case for banning fracking. on the issue of induced size misty, i always go back to some testimony that was presented to the united states senate a couple of years ago about one of the nation's leading geophysicists, who studies this
issue very closely as an adviser to the obama administration on this issue. and didn't say it's a nonissue, just wanted to put it in perspective. so for instance, he said that there are more than 140,000 of these waste water disposal wells that are used by the oil and gas industry, but also other industries too. and that the vast majority of those have been operating safely for decades. so it's the context and it's the lack of a factual discussion of the research that i take issue with and that i hear about all the time from geologists and engineers inside the oil and gas industry who just want the debate focused on the facts rather than it being -- rather than it being politicized and sensationalized in an effort to
run a media campaign to ban fracking. >> thank you. now you went over, i'm going over. >> but you went over more than i did. >> one more question. >>. the ranking member will be recognized for another minute. >> thank you. we're aware that some of these incidents happen. my concern is when people get. concerned, it's real to them. is the answer to just keep them from expressing it by keeping them from having local ordinances or do we make some type of recommendation to move out of these urban areas where it's happening to perhaps some other area? no matter what we can sit here and say, this frightens people. i was standing in my office,
which is almost downtown dallas, and the building shook a week ago. and i said, i'm on the sixth floor, that could not be a car. then the news came on and said it was an earthquake. we're not accustomed to earthquakes in that area but now we are. they are happening very frequently. denton, fort worth and all in the mid-cities area. is it stupid to say people don't want that to happen near their homes? because to me to say you're not going to pass an audience in this state to stop this. do we have a fund to pay these people when their homes get torn up and their health is affected? >> well, thank you for the question. i think with the railroad commission, we only take it very seriously. last year in april we hired a
seismologist, the first time ever in the history that we have ever done that, because we are, like everybody else, looking for answers. i'm not sure it's always oil and gas related. however, we have been out inspecting on a regular basis. we have rules to be followed. and based on recommendations from our seismologist last august we adjusted some rules for salt water disposal wells and are following those rules because we think we're trying to be respectful and responsive. however, we're still looking at the science and data like everybody else. we think our rules and our information have to be based on good science and good information. but we also at the same time as a commission have been up and downtown hall meetings in irving and. been responsive to denton. we want to be involved with the communities so they understand what we do and that we have
rules when you mentioned arlington last week with a potential well that had some problems. we were on scene once we gt the call within an hour and were on scene for 24 hours straight as an agency and are continuing to follow up with that well to make sure our rules are being followed. we take being a regulator and inspector and if a rule is not followed, then we have a stringent enforcement process as well. so i think part of our challenge is to communicate that information to local communities and local residents and we are, as we speak, trying to up our communication efforts and we do work with cities and want to continue to do that as well. >> one more question and then i'm done. when people's homes collapse and when they have that kind of incident, what responsibility do
the companies doing the drilling have? >> if it's proven that they have the right to file a lawsuit. if a well has problem and a rule has been broken, we also do enforcement penalties at our agency as well. they have the ability to file a lawsuit, if that's the appropriate remedy for them. >> thank you very much. >> thank you. the gentleman from california is recognized. >> thank you very much mr. chairman. let me just state the very emphatically that i don't know anyone on our side of the aisle that doesn't believe that states and local communities have a right to make determinations as to what will be permitted to operate within their own borders. in fact, we pride ourselves in believing local controls et cetera. however, with that said, i'd
like to ask mr. hol steen, you mentioned hundreds of earthquakes. those of us in california, we know what earthquakes are and it's a very frightening thing to hear about hundreds of earthquakes. what was the dollar damage done by all these earthquakes in oklahoma? >> i don't know sir. >> you don't know, okay. mentioned hundreds of earthquakes to us. that's frightening. i think that that my guess is anyone else on the panel have any idea what the dollar damage was done? or is this just that's an earthquake? there's some movement there. we know what the dollar damage? i would ask the panel to get. back to me with that information because my guess is that it's not very much. my guess is that it's like a big truck driving by and that shake
is called an earthquake. do you consider, does your organization consider any seismic activity an earthquake? >> congressman, let me emphasize that as the chairman noted, many of the states that have in place experienced regulators are scurrying to answer some of the questions you're raising, but their first order of business, i think, as regulators of the industry is to discover just scientifically what is the connection between the earthquakes and any possible activity. >> how about answering that question. does your organization consider any seismic activity as an earthquake? >> no. >> so what is your definition of an earthquake that gives us hundreds of earthquakes in oklahoma? >> congressman, in my testimony,
the site of the references i made to the earthquakes came from the report that the oklahoma geological survey has issued in the last few days. so let say, we did not do any independent investigation. secondly, i want to endorse your suggestion that we gather information about the costs of whatever earthquakes may have occurred. >> certainly. >> i think the insurance industry is probably a good source for that. >> okay. let me note that i as a former journalist as well i remember a story i covered years ago when there was -- we had a natural oil well disaster, it doesn't exist anymore, the water is back to its normal state in california after that 1969. there was a big oil spill out there. and anyway, the oil companies had decided they were going to
pay for major research into the -- into the danger of offshore oil wells and i was called in as a reporter to cover one of these hearings they were having and you had had these guys with ph.d.s and they really talk about professionals that were hired on to try to give the public some answers about the actual dangers of offshore oil drilling. when i got to this hearing, there was a young lady outside with a rubber duck covered with oil, screaming, murderers, murderers, as they went by. and that young lady with the rubber duck got all the press coverage that day. she was actually put on par and i asked her, as we left i said well, are you a student here? she said no i'm hitchhiking through town and i said well how do you get over here? said, well, this guy picked me up and said he would put me up
if i would hold up this rubber duck and scream murderer at these people and i don't like these oil companies anyway. you know, we have got to get serious about these issues and environmental issues. and there is a lot of people who are holding up the rubber duck with oil dripping from it screaming murderer. and then what we end up with is less safe energy what we end up with and what we ended up in california with was -- and other places where they banned now offshore oil drilling for so long and we ended up with oil being delivered by tanker, which is probably ten times more dangerous than anything coming from an offshore oil well. we have people who have opposed the pipeline that we -- the keystone pipeline for environmental reasons and then we end up with even more danger
transporting that same oil and gas by trains. so look i think everybody -- nobody in their -- who has in their right mind is going to make -- want there to be more danger environmentally, things that can occur. we all have children. we want our children to inherit a planet that is cleaner. what we have here is people acting rationally and i think on some theory that we have to eliminate oil and gas because we're changing the climate of the planet, thus anything we do is justified. and i think we need to be very careful with our facts, mr. chairman. thank you for this hearing. >> thank you. the gentle woman from oregon is recognized for her questions. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. thank you to our witnesses for being here today for this important discussion. i wanted to take just a minute to recognize camille who is here with girls inc. as my daughter for the day. she's from oregon and she's in
the fourth grade and she has a class in science and a class in technology at her school. so when we talk about science literacy, i want to tell you there is hope for the next generation. so back home in oregon my constituents reside along or near an active fault, the cascadia subduction zone. for this reason, oregonians are concerned about seismic issues and as they should be. currently i know that oregon legislature is studying hydraulic fracturing. we have none in our state at present. and as mr. holstein testified, both in his oral testimony and his written testimony, he was talking about the oklahoma geological survey. i would like to, has this already been entered, the geological survey? i would like to ask this be made part of the record today. >> without objection so ordered. >> the statement dated april
21st, 2015 where they're talking about how the seismicity rate increased and that it is and i'll read this so i get right, very likely the majority of recent earthquakes, particularly those in central and north central oklahoma are triggered by the injection of produced water and disposal wells. so i know that the water being injected in oklahoma's deep wells comes from two main sources, the waste water that originated from the water that was used to frac the wells and produce water that comes up along with the oil and gas. so we do have that now in the record and i hope everyone will take a look at it. mr. holstein you talked about hydraulic fracturing you mentioned heavy industrial activity. and my colleagues are talking about the right of states to properly regulate that type of activity and i know we have a colleague here from new york, a lot of conversation about what
they have done in new york and vermont has also imposed a ban on hydraulic fracturing. i want to ask you mr. holstein in addition to the seismic issues which were raised with regard to oklahoma that my constituents are especially concerned about, what other environmental concerns are associated with the disposal of fracturing for -- fracking waste water and proud water and i also wanted you to just address a little bit more the use of water. you say you mentioned that in your testimony and i know that the texas alone has used more than 44 billion gallons of water and fracking activities. i don't have the time frame on that, but could you talk a little bit about the amount of water? i know in parts of oregon we're very concerned about drought, california, we look across a lot of the country that is facing drought, can we have a sense of the volume of water that is
used? >> yes, certainly, congresswoman. i think you're right to put your finger on the issue that so many communities are worried about and states, particularly those states that are suffering through terrible droughts right now, which is that these unconventional oil and gas drilling operations frequently require very large amounts of water, one to 5 million gallons per well. so that's dozens, if not sometimes hundreds of trucks rumbling up and down local roads. okay, that's one of the reasons why we argue this is a heavy industrial activity. but the broader context in which you're putting the water issue is exactly right. it is the availability of water. it is the challenge of treating water. it is the challenge of injecting water. and the issues which you have just discussed with respect to earthquakes and, of course
protection of water supplies. and all of these issues kind of revolve around the fact that there are enormous quantities of water. how much? in my testimony i indicate that there is approximately 800 billion, billion gallons of water that must be managed or disposed of in the course of a year's worth of unconventional oil and gas. >> i don't want to interrupt you, but i would like you to address in the remaining time the studies looking at the release of methane during hydraulic fracturing, please and why that's significant. >> yes. we have done a lot of work in that area, jointly, with industry as well as academic partners and others in peer reviewed studies that have -- that are taking a look at the methane issue across the entire natural gas supply chain. excuse me. as you know natural gas is 97% or so methane.
so emissions from anyone in the supply chain are harmful to the climate, but they also come bring, you know, come along with volatile organic compounds that are a hazard. to answer your question directly, the release of methane from unconventional oil and gas wells is a problem, but it is a solvable problem, provided that operators use techniques that are available to them and equipment that is available to them. because if you look at the whole supply chain of where natural gas or methane leaks from, what you find is that as much as 40% of those methane emissions will come from the production segment. we're working as i said with these partners to get a better handle on exactly that figure. but i think that the important point that has come up through the scientifically peer reviewed studies is that the design of the wells and the techniques used by the operators can make a
huge difference in the amount of methane that escapes and so this is a concern for local communities as i said because of local air pollution and for the nation as a whole because of its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions. i finally say that methane is a nasty climate actor. it is 84 times as powerful as carbon dioxide in the first 20 years or so after its released. and the significance of that point and i believe attached to my testimony and in the record you'll find scientific article about this problem. but the significance of that is that it creates a near term problem with respect to greenhouse gas emissions. in other words damage to the climate. and that together with co2 is a one-two punch at the climate. >> thank you very much. i see my time has expired. >> thank you. the gentleman from florida mr. posy is recognized.
>> thank you mr. chairman. and thank you for holding this hearing. i have a lot of concern about fracking and seismic testing and we get so much diverse information disseminated. today we have three people saying positive things and one person saying negative things. it is hard to tell, you know, who all is telling the truth and who might not be telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth. and mr. holstein, in your written testimony, you made things a little different than your oral testimony and i think i heard you say in your oral testimony that true there is no evidence fracking causes contamination or maybe fracking -- would you repeat that for me please? >> yes, sir. and it is -- hopefully i said the same thing in my oral
testimony -- oral summary as i did in the written, but if i didn't, i welcome the opportunity to repeat it here. there is yet to be conclusive evidence that hydraulic fracturing itself caused drinking water contamination. however, it is widely understood that the poor well construction and maintenance can create pathways for -- >> okay. that's what i want to hear, thank you. you know, i heard people say the same thing about the alamo you know. it is true that the alamo does not itself cause any contamination, but all those people that go to visit it they probably travel there by car or something and they probably cause some kind of pollution. somebody else said the same thing about the super bowl. the super bowl itself doesn't cause any pollution but, but people that go to see the super bowl turn on television to watch the super bowl that consumes energy. people said the same thing about the statue of liberty. the statue of liberty itself doesn't cause pollution. people that take the boat to it, boat causes pollution, taking them there and the energy for
the boat has to be produced. somebody said the same thing about the white house. the white house itself does not cause any environmental damage. but people who go to see the white house have to travel there, and we know that virtually just about every product that we enjoy consumes some type of energy in the making of it. how do those examples differ from the point you're making? >> congressman, i think it is important for me to point out that environmental defense fund has not been reflexively opposed to unconventional oil and gas development, or the widespread development of these new resources that previously were economically unavailable to
america. so i begin with that point. and simply summerarize the thrust of my testimony by saying that it is too narrow a focus simply to look at one dimension of hydraulic fracturing. that's why my testimony addresses the many issues that come along with unconventional drilling. but at the same time it points out in considerable detail the actions that have been taken in states like texas in states like colorado, in states like pennsylvania and wyoming, to try to address these concerns. and one of the things i believe chairman craddick has said, that we so strongly support, and, in fact, i was thinking about it as congressman rohrabacher was speaking, with respect to offshore drilling, and that is that one of the essential challenges of -- for regulators is to simply keep up with the
enormous amount of innovation that is going on in the oil and gas industry. and i make no complaint about that innovation. i simply note that it is a highly complex and heavy industrial activity and regulators need to be on their toes. so let me conclude my response to you by saying that if you can imagine the many communities and states where suddenly oil and gas development is occurring where no one alive has ever seen it before, has ever experienced it before, has ever worked in the industry before, you can imagine the challenges to elected officials at the state and local levels in trying to devise appropriate regulatory programs and oversight. and that is why we have such differences from state to state
with states like texas having 100 years or more of aggressive and increasingly complex regulation of the industry. but other states that are just starting out. and similarly we have tremendous difference in the reactions that you see between the reactions you see politically to some of the local fights over banning. >> i see my time is going to be up. i want to thank you -- thank all the witnesses for appearing today. my particular interest is in offshore drilling that you mentioned. and it is through hearings like this that the chairman was kind enough to have that we share those ideas and we learn from different states and learn different techniques and do more fact finding on these issues that maybe aren't 100% clear. i thank you very much for the time. i yield back. >> thank you mr. posy. the only member of the science committee from colorado, is
recognized for his questions. >> i want to thank my friend from florida because what he's brought up he's given examples of the white house and the super bowl and the whatevers, i think he he and i both serve on the banking committee, the financial services committee, and so one of the places where we may see an intersection at some point is with insurance. property and casualty insurance. if, in fact, there are dangers that some people have suggested. so we will see this come up in our other committee, i say to my friend from florida. now, colorado obviously, we had a lot of discussion about fracking. and about its place in the politic and the body politic, and legal community and the regulatory area. and so i've been dealing with this subject for ten years now i would say, as a policymaker.
and for me the fact that we have moved ourselves towards energy independence as a policy and as a successful goal from the innovation of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracking is good. but, and i think miss craddick you said it well, we have to take reasonable precautions though, with something that has helped us achieve another goal. we got to as policymakers, we have to balance the dangers that potentially come from an industrial operation as mr. holstein described it. and the fact that some things are going on underground, we may or may not be able to see some things are happening at the service where there is a collision of an industrial operation and the school next door and whether you need a curb cut for the trucks and what is going on in the air. is there an escape of methane or
some other emission into the air. and mr. lomax knows we have been having that discussion in colorado on a pretty you know, heated basis. whether it should be local government, the state government or the federal government in charge of all of this. colorado, similar to texas it is the state government basically has the final say. that's generally where i've been. but we cannot ignore the potential for dangers. we, as policymakers have to recognize dangers and i'm looking at oklahoma. there is an article yesterday where the oklahoma geological survey said we're worried about seismic problems. so, you know, they said, and they attribute it to the deep waste water injection wells. and in colorado, we had, you
know, some seismic activity that ordinarily is not something we have in colorado. you know. we want that to be only in oregon and people come to colorado because they're worried about oregon, you know. sorry. so i would say -- i'd like to ask a question of mr. holstein good to see you. so take a look in when you do at edf, what you did formerly within the administration, am i incorrect in trying to divide it up into three sections? what goes on underground, what goes on the surface, and what goes on in the air? >> fair enough. >> so what i've come to the conclusion is the surface part really is a local matter. it is zoning. and curb cuts. and truck traffic. does that make sense to you? >> i think my testimony strongly suggests similar line of
thinking. i hadn't divided up quite the same way, but it makes sense, yes. >> i would ask mr. siegel, am i -- would you -- how do you look at how we divide sort of the regulatory components of all of this? >> well, it is hard for me to really reply to that. i'm not a regulator, okay? i really pretty much restricted my views to what i know, and feel pretty comfortable with, which is water. >> so you're dealing with water and what is going on underground, right? >> that's correct. and on the surface at times. >> and on the surface, okay. so from your experience and from your study though, the pollution or the contamination you've seen really has been with poor casing, some poor practices with respect to the well. >> well, not quite. i mean my experience, which is largely restricted to our -- to the appalachian basin, of course, since i'm from new york, the kinds of problems that the
pennsylvania experience tells us happens, are the occasional surface spills, certainly in the past, before the industry took notice and now that amount of spillage is really decreased. and as far as the casings you know, a few instances, few handful of instances. >> isn't that -- would that be the problem. >> a casing issue or well, there is question about that, whether when they drilled, there is issues of drilling but it could have been casing as well. that was natural gas from somewhere below coming into people's homes. as far as the other fluids associated with the industry, it is mostly surface issues that are the problem. those are readily taken care of in most cases. i mean, we don't have open pits, for example, and appalachian anymore. and in terms of the flowback water and the produced water, and appalachia basin, that is my
understanding that most of the flowback is re-used to drill new wells. and so the quantity of flowback and produced water has gotten really small, but you have to take care of, ship it to ohio or something for deep well injection. but because the industry has developed ways to do this, in pennsylvania, there was a remarkable situation where one of the companies, i forget which one, suggested they develop the way to use acid mine drainage coming out of coal mines as a frac water additive instead of fresh water, but there was a state regulation saying you can't get economic advantage out of using a waste product or something. so they never actually did it. but the point is that the chemical engineers are at work to try to solve the issue so that maybe in the future won't have to use fresh water, but bad water to do the actual fracking. >> thank you. mr. lomax, my time has ex-tired.
ed -- i wanted to ask a coloradan a question but my time has expired. >> the gentleman is recognized for an extra minute. >> i'm done. i'll let -- i'll talk to mr. lomax off line. >> i would like to if i could, add a little context to the local and state issues about regulation in colorado. i think what you've seen in colorado is that on the whole, in the majority of cases, you see the oil and gas industry working constructively with both state and local governments. in order to -- and even supporting local regulations in order to make sure that the -- in order to make sure the development is done responsibly and is done with the support of the community. there have been as you know, some cases where there have been local bans enacted. and there has been very sort of broad regulatory and bipartisan
opposition to local bans, but in terms of local regulation there is a lot of really sort of constructive work going on between the state, between the industry, and between local governments now. that kind of stuff doesn't generate a lot of headlines because there isn't a lot of conflict associated with it. but during this whole oil and gas task force that the governor set up last year you had the colorado municipal league and you had the colorado association of counties say we can work through these issues using the existing regulatory framework rather than -- rather than turning -- rather than coming up with state wide policies that are basically being proposed by national ban fracking groups. >> thank you. >> mr. holstein has been -- he wanted to say something. >> thank you. i just am going to crystallize an important point that mr.
lomax is making here. we believe that the set of rules that the state of colorado has put into effect in the last year are among the most progressive and comprehensive in the nation in terms of the range of issues they develop. and we were delighted to partner with three largest oil and gas developers in the state in coming together to develop the consensus that led to that comprehensive new set of rules. but the driver for that conversation, what brought everyone to the table was the fact that colorado communities, one by one, were adopting or considering bans putting them on the ballot, and there were indeed headlines across the state about whether or not oil and gas development particularly involving unconventional development including hydraulic fracturing would be permitted in the state. so i simply point out this is
the danger of ignoring the local concerns that can sometimes lead to these bans. you need to bring people together and take aggressive action to address the issues. >> thank you. i'm going to be drummed out of -- off of this committee if i take any more time. >> thank you. the gentleman from ohio is recognized mr. johnson. >> thank you mr. chairman. i live in a very rich, shell rich region of eastern and southeastern ohio. and hydraulic fracturing has been a -- a process that has had profound economic positive economic implications to the people that live in appalachia ohio. i'm very concerned about some of the issues that we're talking about here today. and chairman craddick, there has been a lot of discussion about earthquakes here this morning.
is there some confusion that the earthquakes are being caused by hydraulic fracturing when it is really the deep well injection of the waste? would you take a minute and comment on that? >> first and foremost, thank you for the question and i will say your governor and some of your legislators and regulators have been to the river commission so we can explain what we're doing. hopefully we continue to give you good advice as you are putting a vibrant oil and gas community together up there as well. we obviously all take seismicity very seriously and the information available today is that hydraulic fracturing is not causeing earthquakes. that's the information available in texas today. we are still researching and looking at the available science and we just had an smu study come out on monday night, tuesday this week, that our
seismologist is going through and working with them. we hope they present the study to us in the near future. so we can ask our appropriate questions as with regulators on other legislatures in session right now in texas they want to ask questions as well. we're still looking at deep water injection wells and whether that is the potential challenge in texas. so the answer is i don't think anybody absolutely knows. what i do think some of the studies potentially do is rule out potential problems that could be caused by earthquakes. >> let me clarify, just for the record, you're saying there is no evidence yet at this point that would indicate that hydraulic fracturing is causing earthquakes? >> that's the information we have available, yes, sir. >> all right, thank you. >> what i think some of the studies do is rule out issues but i'm not sure they can ever tell you specifically what is specifically causing it. >> got it. thank you. >> dr. siegel many aadvocacy
groups claimed the methane found in drinking water of various homes was caused by hydraulic fracturing. now, if methane is naturally occurring, how can you tell if it is naturally occurring or as a result of oil and gas development? >> well i've always thought it was fairly simple. if you have gas from a gas well my understanding and if it gets out and gets into a domestic water supply what you'll find is methane alka-seltzer being produced, where it was not there before. now, there are some places in pennsylvania and in new york where we have naturally methane alka-seltzer occasionally coming out of some drinking waters wells and where there is no drilling at all. and this is a unique gee logic situation. but you don't -- the state of pennsylvania doesn't to my
knowledge identify the future of gas by analyzing and seeing dissolved concentrations you can't see get higher. homeowners say my well is bubbling gas, and hasn't bubbled before. and there is a gas well nearby. so the very few cases i know where there has been gas and most of which have been easily taken care of but recementing. it is very apparent all right. so that's what concerned me about the previous studies, looking at dissolved methane, the stuff you can't see and saying that increases in these which very enormously over time, naturally, somehow are related to oil and gas. that's what we found wasn't the case. >> one follow on question you know, though it makes for good cinema and anti-fracking advocacy is natural gas in drinking water a new phenomenon? >> well, not to my knowledge. the very first time i came to syracuse, 1981 first call i got from a citizen who heard there
was a hydrologist there had had to do with natural gas and the water well. near saratoga new york where i grew up. and, you know, i asked a few questions and at that particular natural gas came from a wetlands setting. the u.s. geological survey in new york has -- did a study on natural gas and found every well had some natural gas. at syracuse, i'm funded by national science foundation to look at natural gas and southern tier of new york and pretty much every place we have looked for it, or looked there has been natural gas. certainly pennsylvania the same way. >> thank you, dr. siegel. mr. chairman, i'm going to be respectful of my colleague's time and our witnesses' time and yield back within my prescribed time. >> thank you, mr. johnson. and the gentleman from virginia mr. buyer, is recognized for his questions. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to thank all the witnesses too for being here with us today. dr. siegel, you expressed some concern about the duke professor studies and the bias and the sample collection, the 146, two
of them -- or some of them near two of the wells that had failed. and yet when you gather your 12,000 or whatever you're working on, they were gathered by employees of chesapeake. a natural gas exploring. why is that inherent bias much greater than researchers working for a university? >> i think you mischaracterized what happened with the chesapeake. chesapeake gas, to my knowledge what i was told, is they hired national consultants who sampled for them and national recognized certified labs by epa and so forth to do the analysis. so chesapeake didn't sample themselves. they hired independent contractors hired all over the country and environmental work to do the sampling. and so i don't see that those samples could have been compromised or would have been compromised by the fact that chesapeake hired independent consultants to do the sampling much like, you know, i hire a
laboratory to do analyses for me. >> doctor you also expressed some concern about i guess maybe blogs or others that were critical of the failier toure to disclose the connection. the original said the authors show no competing interest even though the samples were paid for to be collected by chesapeake, you're paid for by chesapeake and one of the co-authors is an employee of the chesapeake. >> i don't think it was an oversight in the sense that the editors and everyone else in the journal fully understood by the bylines under our names that it would be obvious that we were being paid by chesapeake. chesapeake or any large corporations is not just going to hand over 34,000 analyses and say just do with them what you want. it was a collaborative
agreement. and so my colleagues across the country, when they start seeing the blogs about me you know they said, of course you must have been paid by chesapeake. i guess it is an oversight in the context that people brought it up and so we took care of it. as editor you know as i said, i edited five, six journals in my career and i have seen lots of cases like this so yeah it is a corporate connection. >> okay. thanks very much. >> lomax you, again, expressed great concern about so-called advocacy science. and, you know, so much of this is one side not trusting the science of the other. why is it advocacy science when citizens worry about what is happening in their community to their health possibly? but not advocacy science when the oil and gas industry hire scientists and journalists and others to represent their perspective? >> i'm sorry, the question is -- >> what makes mr. holstein's
science science and yours not? >> well, let me start by saying that, you know my -- the white paper we released today on the new york fracking ban is primarily about a failure to disclose all the interests that are being brought to the table and the funding thereof. and so you know, i think that as -- as a representative of the oil and gas industry and as an advocate for the oil and gas industry, you know where i'm coming from. what we found when we looked at some of these research papers particularly the research paper that was both written and peer review ed by opponents of the industry, that opposition to the industry wasn't disclosed so that people weren't able to judge for themselves whether
that information was trustworthy or not. so it was an issue of disclosure rather than -- it is not a question of whether or not people can advocate for a political viewpoint that they believe in, of course, they can. but if they're going to try to represent themselves as then, you know, independent researchers, when they're actually running campaigns to try to ban hydraulic fracturing in new york that's something that at the very least needs to be disclosed. and, you don't have to take my word for it. there are plenty of scientific codes of conduct, scientific codes of conduct that say these sorts of conflicts at the very least need to be disclosed. >> mr. chairman, i yield back. >> thank you, mr. buyer. the gentleman from alabama, mr. palmbridge, is recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman. chairman craddick, how does
geology impact the process of fracking? the composition of formations that you're fracking? >> obviously that's one of the things we rely on operator to look at. if there is a fault and that fault is a known fault, then we make sure that that -- that we're not allowing drilling to occur in that fault first and foremost. we take that into account as do companies. that's part of the risk assessment as well. >> in that regard isn't it true that the geology of texas the history of it is is that there has been more than 100 earthquakes, large enough to be felt over the recent past, how many of those could -- the ones in the 1800s, early 1900s i've got a whole list of texas earthquakes that occurred before fracking, why do you think that
happened? >> you've done your research obviously. we had a question earlier about irving when you look at the history of irving, it is an earthquake capital of texas that really -- we don't have really any oil and gas going on in it. so i think it is a fair suggestion to think there are other things besides just oil and gas causing earthquakes at this point. >> how about oklahoma? there has been a long history of earthquakes in oklahoma, may not be a fair question for you since you're not from oklahoma but isn't that true as well? that there have been a number of -- over the last 100 years of earthquakes in oklahoma that probably were not attributable to any human activity? >> i believe even though i'm not from oklahoma we share a border and we pay attention and work with their commission as well and so that would be a fair statement, yes, sir. >> also true of colorado, and it is a little more difficult
because they have only -- in terms of history recently have been tracking colorado earthquakes, i think maybe the earliest was 1970s, a series of earthquakes in colorado that caused damage in the early 1900s in tendenver. there is more damage. more settlement and more people moving in, you start to notice these things as there is more people. i would like to cite something from the report of the university of texas, the institute of geophysics. talks about along the gulf coast and northeast texas these -- the earthquakes or the magnitudes between m 4 and m 4.8. it says fortunately the vast majority do not cause earthquakes. and the majority of human caused earthquakes are small and harmless. would you agree with that? >> that's what we have seen thus far, yes, sir. >> also in regard to methane emissions, since we're on the topic of the university of
texas, there is a research report done through the university of texas that was done in close coordination with the environmental defense fund. i think -- one of our witnesses works for them. and they have basically found that -- that epa's estimates for methane emissions are far lower than what anti-fracking groups frequently claim. as a matter of fact i think as the newer technology has been employed, that they're captureing most of the emissions now. would you -- could you validate that? >> well, we don't do air emissions, we do work with our sister agency, the tcq in texas. they're telling us and believe that air emissions for methane have dropped 70% in texas since 2001. >> so could we possibly conclude from that as the technology has improved, the methane capture has improved along with it? >> i believe that would be a
fair conclusion, yes, sir. >> thank you. one last thing is -- it was mentioned that states ought to be able to regulate -- well, actually it was just brandeis was quoted, but i believe it was justice brandeis that referred to the states as laboratories of democracy. i agree with that statement. and i think that the states have particularly since they have more knowledge of their geological issues than the federal government does, in many respects, that these things should be dealt with at state level. mr. chairman thank you. i yield the balance of my time. >> thank you mr. palmer. the gentleman from new york, mr. tonko, is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chair. i want to echo sentiments shared earlier by our ranking member. very odd to have a hearing in which we seem to be belittling local communities for the
decision-making about their own quality of life. i think that kind of freedom is the essence of our democracy. to claim that communities are making decisions simply because of bad information is rather interesting. but irrelevant. i could point out that bad information on climate change or on the costs of the affordable care act which some refer to as obama care seem to be driving all kinds of voter choices around our country. but i don't think my friends on the other side are going to work very hard to set those records straight. so to my questions, first, to mr. lomax in your testimony, you state that research by energy and depth found that many of the research papers cited by the state of new york's health review of the process of hydraulic fracturing were financed by groups that oppose fracking. is that correct? >> yes sir. >> and you also cite a specific study where the authors fail to mention that they have direct
ties to opposition groups. is that correct? >> yes sir. >> so it seems to me that the point you're trying to make is that we should not trust the results of these studies because the work is financed by groups opposed to fracking. that is a bit ironic given the fact that the energy and depth effort was founded by the independent petroleum association of america along with financial support from the american petroleum institute, the api, chevron shell, bp and other oil and gas companies. by your logic, we should not trust energy in depth either when energy in depth was launched by ipaa in june of 2009. they sent out a letter announcing its launch. the letter said and i quote energy in depth.org, a state of the art online resource center, to combat new environmental regulations, especially with regard to hydraulic fracturing.
and i close quote. in a paper by one of your colleagues, chris tucker published last year, he described how energy and depth helps to combat opponents of hydraulic fracturing and wrote and i quote, the eid teams also help generate and guide stories behind the scenes. this year alone the number of new stories influenced was in the hundreds closed quote. and he goes on to say that, quote, eid regularly engages on social networks such as twitter facebook and youtube always with the goal of driving the debate closed quote. mr. lomax, appearing before a congressional committee isn't a very behind the scenes way to drive the debate. but i appreciate this opportunity to ask how you generate and guide stories behind the scenes with a number of news stories influenced by eid in the hundreds can you tell us how you carry out that influence? >> let me deal first with your
question about the failure to disclose ties to the campaigns trying to ban fracking in new york by researchers who are producing papers cited by the state of new york in order to ban fracking. my criticism of that practice was the failure to disclose those ties so that this research was -- and these researchers misrepresented themselves as unbiased observers as opposed to advocates. i am -- >> i only have so much time with my questioning here. just to the question how do you carry out your influence? i would rather hear about that right now. >> well, i'm not sure about carrying out my influence. i can tell you that i am -- i am as i said before and i've been very clear about, i'm an oil and gas industry advocate. >> right, but you're involved in
several behind the scenes scenarios. what publications tend to be the most receptive to story ideas pitched by your organization? >> i see my role both here before the committee, and answering questions from anyone who has questions about the way oil and gas is produced is to direct them to authoritative sources like state regulatory agencies, like federal regulatory agencies, and members of academia who can help answer their questions. that basically is the role that i serve and it is a very much -- and i actually -- i draw upon the skills i had as a reporter trying to finance this for myself. >> let me ask though, does the press know to contact you? eid isn't exactly a household name. how does -- is this orchestrated behind the scenes with an effort to obviously provide a bias?
i mean researchers who observe real occurrences are not biased to reality? perhaps? what context coulddo the press have? how do they know to reach the eid? >> they, first of all could go to our website, energy in depth.org. my e-mail address is simon at energy in depth.org. i don't think there is much about energy in depth hidden or behind the scenes as you suggest. >> i was only quoting from the individual who is in charge of carrying forth the mission. >> okay. i see my role and it is one that i am very proud to hold as an advocate for the oil and gas industry is to get facts in front of people who want to see them. and that's really as far as it
goes. >> well, it is always -- i'm reminded it was a goal driving the debate that the presentation was done. >> iny think i said in my earlier answer that the people i'm privileged to work with in the oil and gas industry, particularly geologists and engineers and other technical experts, they want to debate driven by facts. and someone has to put the facts -- someone has to help disseminate the facts and energy in depth, particularly through its website, makes those facts available. >> thank you, mr. tonko. mr. lauder milk is recognized. >> thank you to all the witnesses here today. it is interesting we're talking about facts and science and true science, just last week i was subjected to an interview by a member of the media who asked me to make a statement regarding
global warming or climate change. as a conservative as an outdoorsman, i made a complete statement that i think we need to look at true science. and the facts that we see the science. but at the same time we shouldn't pollute our land. we should be good stewards of the environment. unfortunately the reporter decided to parse out my statement and take out all of the parts that did not support the end of which he wanted to make his aarticle. i'm afraid i'm seeing more and more of that to where even in some scientific communities where in the past opinions, scientific opinions were based on true science or fact, but today it seems that we're manipulating the facts to support whatever end -- political end we want to come up to. and so the question goes back to
some research from a minority staff report on the senate environmental and public works committee from october last year. the new york based park foundation asked professor horwasarth to write an academic article to make a case that shell gas was a -- later they paid $135,000 for that study. when the study came out, allegations mounted there was data manipulation and unsubstantiated assumptions. it was almost universally condemned by the current administration and others in academia. later by the environmental defense fund. however, environmental activists such as robert kennedy jr. and bill mckicken supported the work as proof that hydraulic fracturing was worse than coal. dr. siegel, how can this type of paper ever make it past the peer
review process. >> that's a very -- that's a good question. i'm glad you asked it. i know bob quite well. i debated him actually he's a very good ecologist among other things. the problem really in the preview process, i speak as much as an editor as a contributor to publications is that -- let me give you quickly how it happens. a scientific submits a paper to a journal. and it goes to the chief editor the chief editor asigns an associate editor to handle the paper. the associate editor has to find three to five reviewers peer reviewers, who would be viewed to be nonbiased and so forth, it review the paper. usually the person writing the paper suggests three names. and the editor or the associate editor can assess whether those names would be okay. and they pick some others from outside.
not unlike nsf and how they do their work okay? the problem that has happened is that the publication system is so overwhelmed with submittals that a lot of editors simply will take whoever is offered as possible reviewers by the author to get the peer review. and that's what probably happened in the papers referring to with respect to the health department ruling in new york. in my case, the paper i submitted just got published, i chose a professor at -- at penn state, who is clearly unbiased national academy of science person, i chose a couple of people from the united states geological survey, who i thought knew a lot about methane and done independent work. and i purposefully did not choose for my reviewers who i recommended, anyone who i thought would be biased, you know towards the oil and gas industry.
and i know who those people are. and so i got the review back and there is some really good comments and we modified the paper to address certain concerns and on it went. but that kind of openness that i think i'm proud that i do and my review issues you know, it is -- sometimes doesn't happen. and clearly there have been a lot of papers, a number of papers, that have been opposing hydraulic fracking who have been -- these papers have been pretty outrageous. and when i ask the editors, well, who reviewed these papers to let them out, i discover that it is a community of people who have common views. >> i have an end in mind. >> have an end in mind. that's unfortunate, but part of it is the system is clogged. i wrote a couple of essays on this publish on science in nature. there is too many papers being submitted, too few reviewers to do it capably.
and so stuff is getting out that just really isn't very good. >> thank you i yield back. >> the gentleman from illinois, mr. foster, is recognized. >> thank you mr. chairman. i would like to return to the issue of injection induced seismicity seismicity. a general question, what fraction of hydro fracking operations depend on waste water injection for their economic viability. so specifically let's imagine that in some area turns out that waste water injection had had to be restricted because of seismicity concerns. is that a mortal blow to fracking operations or merely a nuisance? >> if i understood your question, over 90% of the wells being drilled now are unconventional oil and gas wells. and they frequently use large quantities of water as noted in my testimony there because of
concerns about earthquakes and because of concerns about other problems, impacts on taxpayers for example, in the state of pennsylvania, where the publicly owned treatment -- water treatment works simply couldn't handle some of the materials that were coming back in the waste -- that were coming to those treatment works and waste water. states have been racing to put in place new measures to protect the taxpayers and their water supplies. but, yes, so now in pennsylvania, they don't do injection wells at all. and the waste water goes to the state of ohio, mainly that still permits deep water -- excuse me deep well injection. so it is a common practice. >> alternatives. if it turns out it is only the waste water injection that is the big problem. >> -- industry is working on recycling, but you can't do the scale of hydraulic fracturing that the industry is employing now without the large volumes. as far as i know.
>> in areas where there appears to have been an increase in seismic activity associated with drilling and injection operations, is there evidence of either insurance rates going up or property values going down? and if that does happen what is the legal framework for homeowners recovering for their losss? >> i can give you some information about property values in well county, colorado the county that has more oil and gas wells in it than any other in colorado. has almost half of the states, 50,000. and property values in well county have been growing significantly at the same time as increased oil and gas development and there are some wiest water waste water disposal wells in well county. in colorado, there is an increase in values.
>> relative comparably situated places without the drilling activities? i understand colorado real estate is doing pretty well these days. >> well -- >> this is a side by side comparison or just an absolute statement that -- >> this is based on -- this is based on some commentary from the well county tax assessor, who is asked specifically about do you see any kind of impact on oil and gas, do you see any impact on property values based on proximity to oil and gas operations including waste water disposal wells and he said they don't see any difference between that and the rest of the county. >> and it is my understanding, there is anecdotal evidence that in oklahoma, that there is some unhappy local residents who might be -- there might be some effect there of lowering property values. anyway, okay i'm -- another thing has to do with the time scale for observing and
diagnosing seismic activity as a result of drilling or waste water injection. you can imagine different geological scenarios, one of which is that you start the waste water injection and you have a very large number of small -- or that there is nothing happens and you just simply get a stress buildup underground to the point where you get -- after a long period of time, one giant or relatively large quake. and how would you -- how would you actually correctly identify the causal link? it would be easy in the first case because you could start and stop the waste water injection watch the seismic activity start and stop. in the second one it sounds tough because you're talking about something where you could -- where a large seismic event could be the result of a long, you know decades of drilling. and how do you handle that from a liability point of view and from even identifying the causal relationship there?
>> i think that's what we're all trying to figure out at this point. because if you look, for instance in the basin, we have been drilling for a long time. and don't really see a lot of earthquakes don't really see a lot of earthquakes at this point out there. but if you look in the barnett shale which is where the s.m.u. study is from, we have been drilling actively since 2008 but the amount of drilling has declined because it is a natural gas play by quite a bit. that is where seismologists and scientists are trying to figure out. i'm not sure you can ever completely find the answer to your question. that is the biggest challenge, as you're modeling, it depends on modeling of the scientific study as i've been advised and the researchers looking at that. there's not one best model at this point. >> my question is about the legal framework. if in the end it looks like some
real damage to the seismic stability has been done by these operations what is the legal flakework? do individual home owners have to sue someone who may have gone out of business years ago? what is the -- >> could we have a brief answer to this question? we're going to try to finish before we have to leave for votes. and who -- mr. foster, who were you directing the question to? >> anyone who feels capable of answering it. >> i don't know the legal framework. but i would emphasize that this conundrum makes my point earlier which is that the oil and gas industry is not static and therefore regulatory oversight and scientific inquiry must keep up with the ever changing elements and challenges associated with this heavy industry. >> thank you, mr. foster. if the three remaining members who have questions can limit themselves to three minutes each
we can get you all in. we have an hour's worth of votes. i would like to spare the witnesses having to wait for us. you're next. >> thank you, mr. chairman. be real quick. ms. craddick, thank you for being here. i wanted to get your perspective. it sounds like in texas you work very hard to work with the local communities and there is a partnership that you have been able to work out and resolve concerns. the question about the federal government's role, i know in michigan, we have been doing fracking for many years and our department of environmental quality has done, i think, a very good job of communicating with citizens about the technologies being used and i don't see a big role for the federal government in this. what is your sense, you're on the ground floor working with this both on the state level but also working with local communities. do you see a role for the federal government that would in
some way address issues that are not being addressed currently at the state level? >> we think we do at the state, quite frankly, congressman. when you look at texas we have had a casing fracking rule in place for 50 years, epa is just framing one. they are way behind where the technology is. we think it is better at state and working with local communities. at the rule commission, we don't deal with noise pollution, traffic issues. those are local issues. so that's where we encourage operators to really work with those local communities and be good citizens. but i'm not sure where e.p.a. or other federal agencies and we're blessed we don't have a lot of federal lands like some of the other western states do. most of us who have been active in oil and gas for a long time in the states already have rules in place and it would add another layer of bureaucracy is the biggest concern. thank you.
>> mr. veasey. >> ms. craddick, it is good to see you. i wanted to just make -- ask you a question about just some of the recent activities that have happened in texas. i think it is perfectly reasonable that we would want to be able to produce any of our fossil fuels and natural resources that we have for energy here so we don't have to depend on the middle east now particularly with all the craziness that is going on over there, i think it is perfectly reasonable that we would want to be able to produce our minerals. i also think it's perfectly reasonable whether you're a fisherman or a hunter or you just like gardening in your backyard, you want to be able to have clean air and clean water and that is where your agency and city councils and what have you, they take those things into consideration when trying to pass ordinances. in 2009, your hometown, midland, had some issues with spacing.
the city council there, which is a community that is pretty much completely dependent upon oil and gas for the most part, they wanted to be able to create an environment where the city could thrive and prosper for economic development reasons for the enjoyment of property and they ultimately passed ordinances. the city of denton did that too and the legislature acted and denton is a much more progressive or liberal city than midland is. do you think that these cities are being treated fairly in regards to being able to outline rules for themselves and how they want their city to be able to function? because it just seems like there is some unfairness there. it seems like what denton was trying to do was the same thing that midland was trying to do. they were trying to come up with a policy that was good for their particular city. >> i think the difference
between what midland has done, which i think most people would consider reasonable setbacks is that they worked with local operators and communities to try to figure out what worked for their local community. the difference is that in denton, they have banned the use of anybody in denton being able to develop their own private property whereas with a local ordinance, you still can with horizontal drilling develop those properties because you can have a reasonable setback. and, look, i think we all agree that being 500 feet or whatever a community considers appropriate for a setback to protect health and safety is not unreasonable. but banning hydraulic fracturing in a community the private property rights of those individuals, you have basically banned drilling, which historically has been the purview of a state -- the state to regulate it and so that is the debate right now going on in the texas legislature and we'll
see where they get. >> thank you very much. >> thank you and the other gentleman from texas, mr. babin is recognized. >> thank you, mr. chairman, appreciate it. and chairman craddick for your leadership. thank you all you witnesses for being here today. thank you ms. craddick for your leadership of the railroad commission of texas. texas has provided about 50% of the jobs in the country over the last six years. and i think fracking has been a huge contributor to that. in more ways than one. but i represent the 36th district in texas, in southeast texas. there was an incident in 2012 where an individual claimed that the water from their garden hose lit on fire. as it turned out, a texas district court found out that the individual had coordinated
this stunt with an environmental activist to deceive. in this case the hose was attached to the gas line. how does your commission respond to these types of claims when you hear about this? >> if somebody complains that they believe their well -- water is on fire, we're going to go out there and inspect it first and foremost. get the facts. if there really is a problem, we're going penalize and enforce, make sure there is remediation for the problem and two, then, penalize or enforce the rules that we have available to us. >> as far as the actual number of legitimate incidents are concerned, perhaps only a handful that i can read out of studies. how do we put these risks into the perspective with the enormous economic and societal benefits of hydraulic fracturing technology. >> historically we have drilled over a million wells in texas. we have over 400,000 that are
active wells that we are regulating as we speak. part of our challenge is to make sure we are out inspecting and enforcing our rules and to make sure we're also doing it on a reasonable basis, that there are good rules in place, people know the rules. but to also make sure there are facts involved. i think we're a fact-based agency. we have good rules i believe. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. i know we have to go vote. >> thank you, mr. babin. let me thank all of our witnesses today. this has been an exceptionally good hearing. i want to say to you all, it is a create credit to you and a credit to the significance of this subject that we had 20 members here at this hearing. that is probably a new record any time but it is certainly a new record for a 9:00 in the morning hearing. again, i appreciate your presence. hydraulic fracturing has occurred safely for decades and is largely responsible for an improved economy expansion of energy options and less reliance
on middle eastern oil. given its history and importance to our economy, attempts to regulate the process should be based on sound science and not science fiction. the record will remain open for two weeks. again i thank the members and the witnesses and we stand adjourned. >> thank you, mr. chairman. this weekend the c-span cities tour has partnered with cox communications to learn about the history and literary life of topeka, kansas. >> the very act of signing of just signing that piece of paper was viewed by missourians as an act of war. when northerners decided that if popular sovereignty will decide the fate of kansas we're going to send people to settle, that was viewed as an act of war by many missourians who just
assumed this would all be theirs. there are raids back and forth across the kansas border almost immediately. john brown, his sons and a couple of other followers, dragged five men from their cabins and they are shot and hacked to death with broad swords. that effectively cleared that area of southern settlers. >> here in topeka if you looked at the schools you would be hard pressed to determine if white students or african-american students attended. what is even more interesting for most people when they come to visit is they find out after graduating from elementary school african-american students attended integrated
middle and high schools. they saw the injustice of having to attend separate elementary schools the african-american community also was very proud of their schools because these were excellent facilities. so while there was support for idea of integration there was also resistance especially from the teachers and the local chapter of the local chapter of the naacp who feared the loss of the institutions and the loss of the jobs. >> watch all of our events on c-span 2's book tv on american history tv on c-span3. here are a few of the book festivals we'll be covering this spring on c-span 2's book tv. we will go to maryland for the
gaithersburg fest call. and we will go to new york city. then in june we're live for the chicago tribune lit fest. including a program with lawrence wright and your phone calls. that's this spring on c-span 2's book tv. next the turkish foreign affairs minister talks about events in the middle east and the role his country has in the region amid violence in iraq and yemen. this is an hour. welcome, ladies and gentlemen. my name is george perkovich. i'm a vice president for studies here at the carnegie endownment
for international peace. i want to thank you for joining us for this important afternoon, and the opportunity to hear the remarks from the foreign minister of turkey. he'll be talking about absolutely vital issues today of the middle east, turkey's relationship with nato, the iranian nuclear negotiations, all super important issues in the united states, in europe, middle east and with global implications. we are honored to have foreign minister cavusoglu here. in from ankara. he will be making his remarks as we spoke and then -- >> [ inaudible ]. >> then we will be taking questions and offering a discussion before he has to depart. as we mentioned, there's no challenge of difficult issues
confronting turkey, its allies and other states in the region. he will be addressing those. one of them that we've worked on here at carnegie, in particular, is the challenge posed by iran's nuclear program and the diplomatic effort to deal with that. we've just published a book here, a colleague and i, so it's available outside if anyone is interested. turkey's nuclear future looking forward. as i say, the minister will speak and cover a whole range of these issues, and then we'll have a discussion from thereafter. minister cavusoglu the past two years. previously, he was the minister of european union affairs and
also is one of the founding leaders of the jk party and -- in turkey. so without further ado, mr. minister, please. [ applause ] >> thank you so much for the introduction. distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it's a real pleasure to be here with you all today. let me thank ambassador burns in his absence, and the carnegie endowment for the wonderful reception. i'm here in washington, d.c., on an invitation from my good friend, secretary kerry. i will also meet with counterparts from the administration and have contacts on the hill. of course, i value all those meetings that i'm going to have
during my stay, but i'm equally pleased to address you at this century-old institution. over the years, carnegie endowment turned into a truly global think tank. it has contributed to the international peace through creative ideas and strategic thinking. i am sure you know the famous quote, every great dream begins with a dreamer. the institution has been home to the many dreamers of the peace. that is why i am very happy to have an opportunity to talk to you under this roof about the state of play in the middle east, and turkey's role. and this is a topic on which there has been much debate here in -- at this time. i know that not all the comments are being positive. i appreciate the opportunity to
speak about our dream, our region of new and different middle east, one that rises on peace, stability and cooperation. ladies and gentlemen, today, the middle east is largely in a state of turmoil. but the same middle east has contributed greatly to the philosophy call, cultural and scientific progress of humankind throughout history. president obama himself highlighted some of these contributions in his historic cairo speech. we believe that this region still has the potential to create great things. so the question is, how do we turn this potential into concrete improvements? after decades of oppression and wars we witness the offspring.
witness the offspring. the people led the transformation process and it shook the foundations of the century old status quo in the region. in this process, we played a positive and supportive role as turkey. we extended around $3 million of financial assistance, as well as technical expertise to egypt, tunisia, libya and yemen. we also contributed to the efforts of the european union, as well as the council of europe venice commission in all these countries. the transformation process is currently categorized by a massive challenge. let me identify some of them and also share my views for dealing with all of these challenges. the conflict in syria affects turkey the most. the situation has become more complicated with the emergence of daesh, or isil, you say in the united states.
in other words the situation in syria has become a serious national security concern for my country, turkey. we have provided significant contributions to the international coalition as an active member. we have mobilized our military and other resources in its support. so we agree on the existence of a major threat in our immediate neighborhood. but we also say the selective approach focusing just on fighting terrorism will not remedy the situation in syria and even in iraq. the political rhetoric in syria has to be filled with a representative government based on the legitimate aspirations of the syrian people. this is the only way to bring a sort of stability in syria. the declaration identifies the road map for providing the
solution. the parties for any negotiation is to end the conflict are clear. these are the syrian nation coalition and the regime. the coalition is recognized by 114 countries and 13 international organizations, as the legitimate opposition. however, after geneva, the regime thinks that it has a free hand to continue its violence against the people. this has to stop. the international community must exert pressure on the regime that saw that it will sit down at the negotiation table. we have been working closely with the united states to find a way to move forward for our political solution in syria. our efforts on implementing a
training program is a clear testimony. this program aims to create areas inside syria that are safe. it will also provide a food hole for syrians willing to fight daesh. ladies and gentlemen, iraq has been in continuous crisis for many years. daesh is the latest episode in the drama and maybe the most complicated one. the terrorist organization has occupied more than 1/3 of iraq, which is equal to the size of croatia in a short time. this was surprising for many. but we had been warning about this possibility for a long time. why was iraq faced with such a crisis? what is the reason behind it? simply because of the sectarian and oppressive policies of the previous government, after the departure of american troops. so there is a need for a policy that reaches out to oppressed people and regain their trust
and confidence. i mean the current administration. the new iraqi government under a this budget started well in gaining international support. turkey has been fully in support of this new, inclusive abadi government in iraq. but it is again, our duty to remind iraqi government that it needs to do more for winning the others of the country. promises must turn into country's actions without further delay. in iraq, in a short term, there might be some military successes, but lack of confidence between the people and the government is unfortunately continuing. military successes will not be enough. there is a need for political and humanitarian steps taken at the same time.
tikrit and the other liberated cities should be held and run by the locals. people shouldn't feel that they have come under another term of oppression in iraq. iraq cannot be governed, as before, by daesh. it should evolve into the faction of federal and state. this is not something new, obviously. it was also foreseen in the iraqi constitution. we know -- we now know the task at hand is not easy. we shouldn't put undo pressure on the new government. unfortunately, the urgency is all too evident. that is why we're providing, political, military and humanitarian support to iraq.
and we are carrying out a training -- acute program for the government, national guard units. we've trained more than 1,600 peshmergas. on the humanitarian side, we are hosting nearly 2 million people from syria and iraq combined. our expenditure has reached almost $6 billion, whereas, we receive only $300 million war support from the international community. we are also doing our part to stop the flow of foreign terrorist fighters. we have taken all the necessary measures. we have set our no entry lease, which involves more than 12,800 people, and we've captured and
deported around 1,300 people in this context. about half of them, we didn't have any information from the source countries, thanks to the sensitive work of our security and also intelligence, and we've captured and deported them to their source countries. we inform all the source countries of the foreign fighters. but this is not an issue that we can -- turkey can solve on its own. we need improved information sharing and more international cooperation, particularly from the source countries. the source countries should also start asking themselves the hardest question, who is really the weakest link in this chain? in addition to syria and iraq,
we see sectarianism as a general threat to the region in the middle east. that is a standard message that we give to all actors and parties. sectarian based policies create no-win situation. all lose in sectarian struggles including first and foremost those who favor these policies. yemen is the most recent example, pointing at such dangers. in both iran and libya, what we need is political dialogue. meaningful political dialogue. we need political solutions based on the nature of compromise and consensus in both pose two countries. ladies and gentlemen, as a cornerstone of peace and stability, the middle east -- in the middle east, egypt is another potential risk for the region. egypt is an important country for the muslim world. egypt is important for the
middle east, and egypt is very crucial country for not only northern africa but the -- for the whole continent. egyptian leadership pushes those people. they see it as opposition towards radicalism. our concern is that if the current trend is left unchecked, a new and more violent social outburst in egypt will be inevitable. egypt's deep structural problems can only be solved in a liberal and efficient political environment. we encourage all parties to advocate the establishment of an inclusive political system in egypt, too. ladies and gentlemen, of course, one cannot speak about the middle east without touching up on the palestinian issue. because it remains the core challenge in the region.
actually, we all know parts of the solution. the state of israel, living side by side with an independent and sovereign state of palestine, on 1967 borders with east jerusalem as its capital. yet despite the best and most sincere efforts of my dear friend, secretary kerry the two-state solution is in a coma. you all know the recent palestinian initiative regarding u.n. security council resolution to initiate a peace conference. such a resolution will make the israeli side sit down for serious negotiations for a two-state solution. unfortunately, this initiative, like others, trying to open the way to peace, failed at the united nations security council. the main body responsible for
protecting international peace and security once again proved incapable of performing this task. dear guests, ladies and gentlemen, yes, the general picture in the middle east is not very promising. but there are also reasons for being hopeful and to be optimistic, as well. look at the political process in tunisia. this country shows us that the legitimate political solution is possible to the problems faced by the countries in transition. the tunisian people deserve our full support and solidarity. we are also very pleased with the political understanding reached between the p5+1 and iran. we always advocated diplomacy as the only possible option for a solution to the issue of iran's nuclear program.
that is why we hope that the ongoing negotiations result in a comprehensive agreement by the end of june this year. as always, we are ready to offer our active support to the process. we also hope that a final and satisfactory solution to the nuclear issue might motivate our iranian neighbors and brothers to facilitate the resolution of other regional problems. in short, our approach in the middle east is based on finding comprehensive, political and inclusive solutions. so let me put what we imagine into a picture. a secure and stable middle east where the energy and trade rules interconnected east mediterranean resources to all directions.
a region which no longer makes the headlines with death tolls, but rather, with cooperation projects and success stories. turkey is doing its part to invest in a common future in the region. we are putting a lot of efforts in increasing and liberalizing trade, lifting resource, expanding investments in the region. on the humanitarian side being the third largest donor in humanitarian aid in the world, we continue to extend our helping hand. throughout the region. we are trying to ease the pains not only in syria, but also in iraq and palestine. in iraq, we are among the first to come to the help by sending 750 trucks containing food kits, tents, bedding, blankets medicines and medical equipment. our official humanitarian assistance to gaza only last year is more than $19 million.
we'll continue to work for better future for everyone in the middle east. ladies and gentlemen, dear guests, i know our topic is middle east. but speaking as the turkish foreign minister in washington, i will not be doing my job in full if i don't mention two other issues. two issues which have created mistrust and confrontation in our region for long time. first, cypress, we have a window of opportunity to find the political settlement to a problem that has been with us for 50 -- more than 50 years. and we believe 2015 will be an important year for the settlement of the cypress issue. our commitment for a solution is as strong as ever. we expect negotiations to resume very soon after the elections in the north.
and the turkish side is ready to go to the extra mile to make a lasting settlement possible before the end of this year. but ultimately, it takes two to tan go. what is needed for a settlement is true political will. if they show similarly strong political will, there is no reason why a settlement cannot be reached by the end of this year. as always, the active involvement of the u.s. will be important. in the political period ahead. second, the turkish army and relations. we have been working since 2009 to overcome the division between these two ancient peoples. two people who for centuries co-existed in peace and harmony. let me underline this point. turkey shares the suffering of
armenians. we tried with patience and resolve to do establishment -- to establish end party between two peoples. we continue to believe that we can build a peaceful common future only through dialogue. in this context, our president's message last year on the events of 1915 was a historic step. the recent statement of our prime minister in january, was another step forward representing our humane perspective. and couple of hours ago, prime minister extended his condolences to the ottoman armenians who lost their lives under the tragic circumstances of world war i. and he also announced in parallel to the remembrance ceremonies on the wall, our
ceremony will also be held at armenian pat arky in istanbul on the 21st of april. this is a step of historic significance. and we will continue on this path. and we will continue to work for a framework that both addresses the historic aspects of the problem and also helps solve the issue. ladies and gentlemen, it is destiny. and today, we stand at the cross roads for the region. we in turkey believe in the promise of our region and its peoples. we are willing and able to stand up to the existing challenges. and so is the united states. the history of turkish-american relations is full of success stories we wrote by working together. our past in afghanistan in the balkans and elsewhere is
testimony to what we can do together in the future. that is what gives me the confidence to say that turkey and the united states will continue to work as close partners. because by working together, we have a better chance of creating a bright future we imagine for the middle east. thank you very much. [ applause ] >> can i answer the questions? if you don't mind? >> please. he's going to stay here. >> okay. >> for technical reasons, it's better. >> much better for the vision. >> okay. good. >> thank the foreign minister for those remarks. we're going to -- we're going to take questions. and we will do it in the normal
way we do things here, which is raise your hand. i'll call on several questioners. we'll take several questions together. the foreign minister has been kind enough to stay to address those questions. please again there are be many people who want to ask questions. make your question very brief and also in the form of a question, please. and also, please introduce yourself before you start. so let's start these three right here in this row. >> thanks, george. barbara from the atlantic council. mr. minister, how do you square your views with those of the saudis, particularly when it comes to an issue like yemen? your prime minister was recently in iran. you called for a political solution there. but you are also, i believe,
supporting the saudi effort, which is now apparently bombing the country with no apparent result. so how do you bring people to the table here? and if i may also ask a question, another question, is turkey taking a position on the direct supply of weapons to the kurds in iraq? thanks. >> kurds where? >> iraq. >> hold that question for one second and we'll pass it here. we'll start with you, michael. >> is that okay? >> yeah. go ahead. >> michael gordon, "new york times." a different subject, sir. you mentioned the negotiations with iran. the details aren't known. but the basic principles are known. it will extend breakout time to a year for a period of ten years. the breakout time will shrink after that. no facilities will be closed and iran will be allowed to do research and development on centrifuges. what is turkey's position on this agreement since the main elements are known? and are there any circumstances in which turkey would feel that
it should pursue the development of nuclear technology on its own as a precaution against an iranian breakout? what would those circumstances be? thank you. >> okay. well, unfortunately, the situation is yemen is concern for all of us. and houthis took the control of the whole country. and democratically-elected president had to leave the country due to the security concerns. of course, due to the invitation of the legitimate president, let gcc countries have operation. and this operation became legitimate. and in principle, we supported this operation. and we announced that we can, if
they need, we can support, we can give them a logistic support and intelligence. but so far, we haven't received any demand from the saudi arabia coalition. but at the end, turkey's for a political solution and immediate cease fire and humanitarian aid. we are very sensitive in that. and broad-based political dialogue. meaningful political dialogue. and possibly national unity administration or government in yemen. that is what we need. and that is turkey's position. and i was with erdogan in tehran. and he was straight with our iranian counterpart that what iran is doing, their sectarian policy is ambitious in the region is not helpful and not helping their interests either.
we were very clear with iran, but we can -- iran should also be involved in the process -- in this process that i mentioned in yemen. they should also use their influences on houthis that they should withdraw and there should be cease-fire and meaningful dialogue and so on. and regarding the basic principle, the current achievement between the p 35 plus -- p5+1 and rein. we are fully supporting this process, we are fully supporting the achievements. and we haven't -- we shouldn't underestimate the achievements made in this process. and we also spent a lot of efforts together with brazil in 2010 and it was not easy to convince iran. iran is our brotherly country, our neighbor. but it is not always easy to make deal with iran. we haven't even changed the
agreement that turkey signed long years ago. and hopefully, we can find a solution to that, as well. but we are fully supporting this process. and we are against nuclear weapons. in our neighborhood. not only in iran, but we are against nuclear weapons. and turkey has no intention to have a nuclear weapon. we didn't and we will not have nuclear weapons. thank you. >> yes, minister, thank you for your remarks. i'm going to ask you an armenian question without mentioning the word genocide from just now. >> you already did. >> i already did, yes. but you, yourself, today and also the prime minister and the president have gone much further than turkish officials in the
past in acknowledging the suffering of the armenians. but as you yourself would know the situation on the ground is very bad. the border is closed and to give you know, one other example, very few working churches armenian churches in turkey are still in ruins. i wonder if you will share any concrete steps you will take in reconciliation with the armenians. >> first of all regarding the armenians living in turkey we have around 40,000 armenian citizens. there are two candidates, as well, from different parties. one of them is from my party. they are enjoying all the rights. and they are also enjoying the rights that the turkish government and state has been giving back. i mean this is not something -- not that we give it for free, but it was their rights taken in the past in turkey. it's not only them that the
religious minorities are being enjoying also. we have been giving their properties back. we have been renovating their church, chapels and synagogues. we just integrated our grand synagogue recently. and turkey restored it. and we restored armenian church. and armenians get together every year for worship in that church. and we need to do more and we are supporting the patriarch, as well, patriarch, and armenian foundations. and our citizens plus another roughly 40,000 armenian migrants also enjoy living in turkey. we know that they had to leave armenia because of unemployment and poor economy. and they are irregular migrants.
i don't like to use the word "illegal" as the former president of the parliament council of europe, they are not illegal people burks they are irregular migrants. we tolerate they stay in turkey. and regarding the turkey/armenian issue and reconciliation we are for reconciliation. and we have been spending a lot of efforts, particularly since 2009. of course, this year, armenian die yas per -- die yas program intend to focus on the influence of the public opinion on the events of 1915. so we are not expecting any positive response from our armenian friends. we understood that we have to look forward. and we need to overcome all these issues.
and the statements and the president erdogan, the prime minister, two statements are a kind of turning point in turkey as well. so we have been taking casual steps towards reconciliation. i hope the armenian friends also understand that we need reconciliation, and we shall, we will not give up as turkey and we will continue towards reconciliation. >> thanks. prime minister, i'm wondering if you remember -- >> you call me prime minister, thank you. >> i'm sorry. mr. foreign minister. i was wondering if you remember last year, the government kicked me and my family out of the turkey because i tweeted a single report on twitter, and also your government has recently arrested journalists. how do you reconcile this
incident with democracy and media freedom in turkey. thank you. >> thank you. i don't have a question but my name is -- i'm originally from somalia. i'm a somali-american. and i think mr. foreign minister and welcome him here. the success for turkey everyone knows it's somalia. thank you for your government your people and mr. erdogan who went to mogadishu in 2011. today mogadishu and somalia stand where we are because of the leadership that he showed. i went on the somali, the turkish istanbul conference. and at that time i met with mr. erdogan when he was prime minister. and i promised him at the time. i say to him. i don't know what to give you as a gift because, you know, it was very quick. today, i have a gift here, i
will give it to the embassy. it's a book, it's not any book. it's the quran the our book as the defined word of allah. and it's the same book read by 1.1 billion muslims that has been hijacked by a bunch of criminals. so thank you very much and i will give it to the embassy. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> should i? >> yeah. go ahead. >> well, media freedom is crucial for democratic societies. as a former president of the parliamentary assembly which is the home of rule of law and democracy and fundamental rights i am fully for free media and freedom of expression. however, in democratic societies and countries, nobody is immune
from prosecutions because of because of his or her profession. and regarding the journalists in turkey, the latest committee to protect journalists, cpj reported seven journals in prison in turkey. and when you look at the list, none of them are prosecuted for their journalistic work. and as as a matter of fact, five of them charged with serious crimes such as homicide causing injury with weapons, bank robbery, forgery, throwing molotov cocktails to the security officers. and two of these journalists have been released. and you see the similar cases in other democratic countries, as well. for instance, following the news
world hacking scandal in the uk, the news editor of the newspaper was sentenced to eight months. and the editor of the news world word was sentenced to 18 months in jail for conspireing to hack phones in 2014. for instance, the 79-year-old editor of the monthly magazine, [ speaking foreign language ] it means "debate." and -- editor in chief of the milan-based daily are imprisoned for libel perjury and criminal deaf far make.
let me give you another example. there's an example in greece, but since it's our good neighbor, i don't want to give this example. another example from this country. he's a u.s. journalist, and he has been sentenced to 63 months of imprisonment in january 2015. for involvement in activities of activist group called anonymous. so for me, even one journalist imprisoned because of his or her journalistic words is unacceptable. so is for turkey. therefore, turkey cannot tolerate any parallel structure, particularly structures in the, in the state's structures. and no democratic country can tolerate this either. thank you. >> two gentlemen in the back that are close by each other.
>> thank you very much. my name is tyler thompson. i'm with united for syria. i was hoping that you could expand on -- we've been hearing that turkey backs the idea of either a no-fly zone or some sort of protected zone to save civilians along the turkish border. and i wondered if you could expand on what the turkish policy is on that, and also explain any road blocks or obstacles that the united states may be presenting in the -- >> can you repeat the last part of your question? the obstacles in the united states? >> the obstacles that the united states might present to turkey in implementing this type of protected area. thank you. >> okay. >> just pass the mic to the gentleman there. and then we'll -- >> thank you very much, mr. foreign minister for your address. given your extensive experience
in the european affairs in the, your tenure of the counsel of europe's parliamentary assembly i just wonder if you can comment on the fact that on april 15, 2015 the european parliament has adopted the resolution which officially recognizes the tragic events that have faced the armenians during the ottoman empire as a genocide and where it calls upon the european council and the european commission and turkey as well to recognize the events as the genocide and to come to terms with your past and, thus, pave a way for genuine reconciliation between turkish and armenian people. thank you very much. >> thank you for the questions. before i answer this question, i forgot to respond to my somalian friend. thank you very much for the gift, first of all. and we are doing our best to support somalian people.
and we just built a hospital with 200 beds. and turkey is running this hospital now. but hopefully in five years' time, we will hand over to the somalian that we are training them right now. the doctors and the staff and then hopefully they will be able to run that hospital. and we also build hospitals in other african countries, including sudan and serving not only people of those countries but citizens of other african countries. and we are developing, we are supporting the development projects in almost all african countries, and we will continue. and thank you very much for the gift once again. regarding the safe zone. turkey proposed safe zone with air cover or no-fly zone. we know the realities of the region very well. and as i mentioned in my
introductory speech, we warn our allies and other countries in the coalition right now about the possible developments in syria and also in iraq. unfortunately, our recommendations or advices were not taken in the account. now, including the united states, our friends regret that they didn't. now, we are proposing a safe zone because it's a must in syria. first of all, we need safe areas. now we are implementing a training program and we need safe zones in syria for the success of this program on the ground. secondly, you know how many refugees living in the neighboring countries, syrian refugees, including turkey. more than 4 million. and you know how many idps in syria, more than 8 million.
and who is helping these vulnerable people? turkey is doing its best, and we are supplying whatever they need, particularly in the camps. now around 240,000 of them living in the 25 camps that we built, another 38,000 living in the camps, three camps we built in northern iraq. and we are supplying education, health care and food and everything. now, the budget is, the budget of world food organization has run out. and we have to support those vulnerable people living in turkey not only in the camps. but in all over the turkey. but these people deserve better. can we give proper education to the children? there are 500,000 syrians in turkey at the age of education. and we have been able to give education to only 140,000 of them.
what will happen to another 360,000 syrian children. and we have more than 100,000 newborn babies, syrian babies in turkey. so, what i mean, this is essential to relocate all these refugees and also idps. our guests in turkey living in better conditions than the ones living in other neighboring countries. i'm not blaming them because they are also doing their best. but they cannot afford, actually. particularly lebanon and jordan. so we need to relocate these people in this safe zone with all the infrastructure that they need. schools, hospitals, whatever they need. that's why we propose the safe zone. and the main problem is here. how as the coalition is going --
and has the security for this safe zone. whether it should be supported by no-fly zone or air cover. obviously we think different here with the united states. or the united states have different proposals or different ideas of this safe zone and no-fly zone. but if we agree, we should together do together we should implement together with the united states. so we are not, turkey is not insisting to do to enhance the safe zone or no-fly zone as its own self. but, unfortunately, few coalition members, like france gave full support, but other core countries, the core members of the coalition has have different operating on this safe zone.
but we will continue, try to convince our allies. regarding the armenian issue and issue, as your skeptic partly made this proposal it doesn't matter who did. but this resolution is not legally binding and it's not binding and to our mind the politicians, nation of parliaments and assemblies of international organizations shouldn't give such decision. we shouldn't authorize this issue. and i know as a politician it is not that easy to decide about this. i also made a lot of reports on
missing persons in the balkans and so on and i wrote one of the most difficult report for the parliamentary assembly on 1932 and 1933. so it was not an easy job. and i visited kazakhstan, russia ukraine and also belarus for fact-finding visit. and i met everybody. and then president of ukraine poroshenko was for genocide and he arranged a group of scientists to meet me and during the meeting, at the end of the meeting, 40% of the scientists, historians told me that it was a genocide and 30% of them said
no it was not genocide and another 30% said we don't have idea or i don't have idea. so as a politician, how can i decide whether it was or it was not genocide? in my report, i said crime against humanity in 1932 and 1933. well, who is going to decide whether it's genocide or not? obviously genocide is not a generic term. it's a legal term. and to my mind historians should also decide. that's why we proposed armenia to set up a joint team of historians and scientists and we should propose the archives and this joint committee should not be limited with the scientists and historians from third countries could also
participate. and the third countries should also open the archives and we commented in our letter of the prime minister be committed to accept the outcome of this study. so what do you expect from turkey? why don't we set up this historians? let open the archive and we will accept the outcome. otherwise, it's easy to convince parliament tear generals to adapt the resolution but it doesn't have the solve the problem. it didn't. in the past, the nation of parliament of some countries, in europe, in latin america adapted such resolutions. but it didn't help. i think turkey and armenia people should solve this issue together. thank you. >> we have time for one more.
>> thank you. thanks very much. i'm from al jazeera. you have peace and stability in europe and then chaos in the middle east. do you ever regret having invested so much effort and attention in your meddle east policy and are you ever concerned that bashar al assad if he stays much longer in power is going to suck turkey into the vortex of middle eastern chaos? thank you. >> thank you very much. it's true that despite all of the challenges that european societies have been facing, like economic and financial crisis, migration issues and integration and also international crime and organized crime and international terrorism, climate change, i can name more. despite all of these challenges the european continent is still
the most stable and most developed and most democratic continent. and we never regret for investing in middle east. you cannot always but we will do our best to support the middle eastern people and we should support the countries suffering from all of this crisis. that's why we give full support to new iraqi government, inclusive government. and regarding syria, yes, we have to allocate the terrorist organization daesh. but meanwhile you should also allocate the root causes of the problem. yesterday, there was no daesh in the middle east, in iraq and syria. there was al qaeda. daesh was emerged from al qaeda and iraq and then got support from different serk kells and
they moved to syria and they got a lot of support from the regime. that's why they have this russian, chinese and ser bee yan made weapons in there and when they feel they are strong enough, they went back to iraq through mosul and also kept our stuff as hostage for 102 days and at the end we were able to bring them through a smooth operation. that's another story. but -- and in mosul, the shia militias of maliki are -- 7,000 of them left mosul and they left all of this heavy weapons behind and daesh got them. and even missiles. and all this is -- now daesh has american and russian-made weapons in their hands and they advanced in both syria and iraq with all of this power. but if you don'ter eradicate the
root causes we don't know who is going to emerge. so the current administration and it's further ground for the radicalization and terrorism in syria. therefore, assad must go and you cannot unite the people of syria around us anymore. because this regime is killing. as long as assad stays they will continue killing people through the battleground, through the chemical weapons and airborne and very strategic town and around 2 million civilians living there. therefore, we never regret for the middle east and turkish is
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